What could educators learn from the philosophers?

Sun Tsu was a war strategist and a philosopher. He was praised for his great strategies and tactics at war. Researchers often refer to his strategies as the best of all times in the military arenas and have thought that they could be applied in the business arenas. And so his strategic philosophies was often used in business to win over others.
Lao Tzu was a great thinker and a philosopher. He was often conceived as a wise leader, but historians have not been able to identify him. Lao Tzu was anonymous and so no one even knew who he actually was. But his concept of leadership was stated as “A leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say we did it ourselves.” However, this was quoted in Network Logic as being said by Sun Tsu.
I suspect these may be due to a problem in the translation into English.
Out of the many Chinese Philosophers, the wisest one was called “Chong Tsu”. His most important and famous philosophy runs like this: “Human has a life span, but we know that there is unlimited boundary (knowledge, especially the huge amount of information, and knowledge nowadays) , to use the limited life span to chase after the unlimited knowledge boundary, it would cause “serious consequence – “death”. If you know the consequence, but still want to do it, then, it will just cause “death”. My interpretation of his philosophy is that he was trying to warn people not to chase for the unlimited “knowledge” to that extent, because there are lots of worthwhile things to do other than the mere passion of knowledge.
Another famous story from Chong Tsu was about how to learn. Chong Tsu quoted how he observed a butcher of a cow separated the fresh from bones of the cow. He noticed that the butcher had done it so naturally with speed and seemingly so easy, and so he thought it was due to the practitioner’s practice and his craft in “butchering”. The moral of the story was to illustrate the importance of mastering learning with efficiency based on “profile, pattern recognition and sensing” of the learner and its interface or artefacts – similar in concept to the connectivist’s learning approach of pattern recognition, way finding and sense making.  So, his philosophy seems to provide similar direction to that of connectivism.

I am happy to share more stories of those philosophers with you. Some of these stories were lost in their formal records, but I could still recall them. The genres or themes of those stories have great significance in education and learning, and could be used as a foundation of most modern education and learning theories.

Role of teacher

Here is an article that may be of interest to you. 

by Prof. Terence J. Lovat

With the assistance of

Dr. Christopher Mackenzie



Prof. Terence J. Lovat concluded that: 

Recent developments in teaching and education have been timely in contributing positively towards enhancing the status of the teaching profession, improving the quality of teaching and learning and providing opportunities for individuals to reach their full potential. Thus, it may well be that moves towards fortifying the teaching profession and the role of the teacher through registration and the establishment of standards represents a coming of age. The registration of teachers and the development of standards for the profession will improve the status of the profession and make it mature, confident, unified and respected. Teachers will be accomplished professionals in the same vein as doctors, engineers and other professionals.

Having spent much of its recent history being perceived as a more-or-less respected apprenticeship-into-trade, the accumulation of educational research, and especially teaching research (the ‘new pedagogies’), has finally confirmed what teachers themselves always knew; that teaching is a highly skilled and complex art and science that requires a rare grasp of content knowledge conjoined with an even rarer skill of disseminating that knowledge within the limitations and constraints of bulk learning in the average, not overly-conducive classroom.

Despite a number of advances, a range of challenges also face the profession, education authorities, teacher education institutions, parents and other stakeholders. Meeting these challenges will require vast reserves of creativity, innovation, determination, political will and political leadership. There is, for instance, the issue of teacher supply and the related matter of teachers’ salaries as well as ensuring that the development and implementation of professional standards is genuinely informed by teachers and that teachers themselves maintain ownership. There are issues associated directly with teacher education which, if they are to be resolved, will require increased levels of collaboration between stakeholders and a willingness to innovate and experiment. The support of education authorities will be of particular importance. Similarly, a new approach to professional development will need to be adopted to ensure teachers are involved in continual education. Further educational research will be necessary to ensure effective teaching and learning and relevant curricula. Training for university academics will have to be considered if indeed, as the research shows, teacher quality is the main determinant of educational achievement. Preschool education will also need to be examined to ensure that preschool teachers are adequately remunerated and working conditions improved. Furthermore, there are complex issues associated with school, TAFE and the higher education sectors, all of which will require not only greater public investment but cooperation between the State and Commonwealth governments as well as the application of considerable creativity and innovation. It is advancement in these areas that will help to transform teaching into a true profession, one that complies with the highest standards of teaching and learning and aid the development of a world-class education system.

What sort of professional development do you think will be necessary in helping teachers to become “world class” professionals? 

What will be the role of a “global” teacher under connectivism?






Teaching the Teachers: A Key to Student Success

Teaching the Teachers: A Key to Student Success

In November 2006, KETC/Channel 9 produced and televised Teaching the Teachers: A Key to Student Success. The goals of the program are to raise awareness of the importance and value of high-quality professional development, to emphasize its role in student success and to spotlight the work of e-Learning for Educators Missouri.

This video is now available from the e-Learning for Educators website and packaged as a DVD, sent to Missouri adminstrators in the February 2007 superintendents mailing from DESE. If your district did not receive this DVD, please contact e-Learning MO to request a copy.

View Missouri PBS Video

Click a link below to view the half-hour program or selected segments in the media player of your choice. File format is WMV. (Duration in minutes, file size in MB)

Please visit the site for entire program http://www.elearningmo.org/video/index.htm

e-Learning Project Video from Alabama Public Television

A brief overview of the e-Learning project, including interviews with state project coordinators and information about project research components, created by Alabama Public Television, presented from the e-Learning Alabama website.

For more information

Christine Terry
Missouri State Program Coordinator
(573) 884-4233